Role Of Subnational Governments In International Relations
Njaramba, Rosemary N
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This research set out to investigate the role of subnational governments in international affairs, using Kenya’s County Governments as a case study. Subnational governments are governments below the national/central governments. The study was guided by the following objectives: i) to investigate the governance structures and functions of transnational networks of subnational governments; ii) to examine how County Governments in Kenya are contributing towards international agendas; and iii) to assess the challenges subnational governments face in their participation in international affairs. The theory that guided this study was neo-functionalism which recognizes the presence and participation of other actors in international affairs. The research proceeded on the following assumptions, that: i) transnational networks, through their governance structures and functions, are facilitating the contribution of subnational governments in international affairs; ii) County Governments are greatly shaping international agendas; and iii) subnational governments face numerous policy and legal challenges in their participation in international affairs. The testable indicators for the study were SDGs and human rights. On the methodology, both qualitative and quantitative modes of data collection were utilized. A questionnaire was developed and administered, while the interview guide was used in the discussions with key informants. Findings of the study were: i) County Governments are contributing to the realization of SDGs and human rights; ii) globalization and integration have accelerated the formation of transnational networks; iii) a framework to guide County Governments’ activities at the international level should be put in place; iv) deeper collaboration between MoFA and County Governments will ease relations between the two levels of government so that national interests are achieved; and v) County Governments should have a complementary role vis-à-vis the states in international relations. The study recommended, among others that: i) there is need to establish an intergovernmental body that will coordinate subnational diplomacy related issues; ii) a review of Kenya’s Foreign Policy is necessary so that the same is cognitive of the devolved system of governance; iii) there is need for deeper and more meaningful cooperation and collaboration between MoFA and County Governments so that national interests are jointly achieved; and iv) capacity building for County staff on matters related to foreign affairs and diplomatic engagement is necessary. The study finally proposed areas that need further research including- paradiplomacy, twining agreements and the cascading of the African Peer Review Mechanism to the Counties.
University of Nairobi
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